Solomon Schindler.

Young West; a sequel to Edward Bellamy's celebrated novel, Looking backward online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibrarySolomon SchindlerYoung West; a sequel to Edward Bellamy's celebrated novel, Looking backward → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




Treasure %oom


Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive
in 2010 witii funding from
Duke University Libraries


Patent Applied for.









Copley Square,


Copyright 1S94,


All rights reserved.

Arena Press.




A nickname, once bestowed upon a man,
clings to him forever. I am known as " Young
West " all over the land, notwithstanding the
fact that I am seventy years of age. My teach-
ers and schoolmates used to call me " Young
West." That was all very well at that period
of life. If a person is to be distinctively quali-
tied by the adjective " Young," childhood and
youth are proper seasons for its application;
but when people continued to call me " Young
West " long after I reached manhood, it became
aggravating. Is it not absurd that those who
know me or of me still persist in calling me
" Young West " even now that my hair has
turned snow-white ? I sometimes wonder if to
crown the absurdity with an anti-climax, the
words : " This is all that remained of Younfr
West, who died in the year — at the age of
seventy, eighty, ninety " (as the case may be),
will be inscribed upon the urn containing my
ashes. ^ij


I must confess that the nickname, though it
was bestowed upon me good humoiedly and was
not sucfo-estive of any trait of character, either
good, bad, or indifferent, used to annoy me
greatly, and particularly when persons, who
were my juniors by many years, applied it to
me. Perhaps I had grown more sensitive than
was proper, but I can barely describe my morti-
fication, when in the presidential campaign,
which ultimately seated me upon the much
coveted chair, the rallying cry was : " Young
West against Mr. Blank." How I fumed and
fretted when the papers printed paragraphs like
the following : " The guild of textile-makers
have declared for Young West ; " or, The iron-
workers are combining with the Electricians
against " Young West " to offset the machina-
tions of the grangers and cattle-raisers, who are
pledged to elect " Young West." And mind, I
was then in the fifty-seventh year of my life. I
would have cheerfully foregone the honor for
which I had been striving since I entered the
industrial army as a private, if I could only have
obliterated by my resignation the mortifying
nickname '• Y'oung West ; " — but no, " Young
'West " I have ever been, and " Young West," I
am fated to die.

Looking upon this matter from the other side,


I must concede that the people, who are calling
me " Young West," have some valid excuses for
applying that sobriquet. Although I letired
from public work many years ago, my physical
constitution is yet sufficiently strong to stand
the wear and tear, the worries and tribulations
of any public office. Neither has my mind lost
a particle of its former youthful freshness and
vigor. My ideas are those of a young man.
Old age has not made me a conservative, as it
usually does of men.

In so far my friends are right, I am still
''Young West."

My life has been crowded with memorable
events ; good fortune permitted me to contrib-
ute somewhat to the welfare and progress of
the nation, whom I served for a period of more
than forty years. I ran through the whole /i,
scale of social and public ambition, from the '
lowest to the highest note. From one public
office, I was promoted to the next higher one.
Lifted and carried by the good will which my
fellow workers bore me, I continued to rise
until they intrusted me with the highest office
in their gift, — the presidency. Even after I
returned to private life, as prescribed by law,
my advice and counsel was frequently solicited
by my successors.


No wonder, therefore, ray friends importune
me now, as my days are fast ebbing away, to
commit to writing the reminiscences of so event-
ful and so successful a career as has been mine.

Not that future historians would lack the
material out of which to compose a thrilling
biography of ex-president Julian West, — (or
" Young West " as they most likely will call
me) — for my name is attached to a multitude
of documents of greater or less importance ; but
my friends claim, that T am better qualified to
explain the causes of events than my biog-
raphers ever will be. Their statements, they
say, will be the product of research or hearsay,
while mine will have the color and conclusive-
ness of personal observation. Who, moreover,
could understand better than myself, how to sift
the vast material, so as to select from it the
most important and significant events, events
that indeed determined the welfare of millions
of people ?

That I yielded to those flattering exhorta-
tions, — or let me rather speak the truth — that
I yiekhnl to the promptings of ray own vanity,
the book, in the hands of the reader, suffi-
ciently evidences. Why should I, after all, dis-
Scrable and deny, that to write this volume gave
me intense pleasure ? Living over the incidents


which I deemed worthy of preservation, I was
thrilled a second time by the passions and im-
pulses which then stirred me into action. Life
is, indeed, twice enjoyed by man : once when
it stretches out before him in the form of hopes
and expectations ; the second time when he is
reviewing it and beholds the accomplished facts,
the leal history of his being, ineffaceably pre-
served under the transparent crystal cover of
the past.

It has been often said, and well said, that a
man's life docs not begin with the hour of his
birth, not even with the moment of concep-
tion, that begins the life of the embryo, but
that every existence is linked to previous ones
by a long line of ancestors. Most of our good
and evil traits, health as well as disease, we in-
herit from persons who have lived long before
us ; to ignoie the influence, which even our re-
motest ancestors have upon our being, would be
like ignoring the rivulets and tributaries that
form a river.

Biographers, therefore, alway3 mention one
preceding generation at least, that is, the pa-
rentage of the hero of their tale ; thus I, too,
must make mention, before speaking of myself,
of the nearest links that connect me with the
past, of my father and mother. In the few


lines which I feel bound to devote to them, the
reader will find an additional explanation, how
it happened that the nickname "Young West"
was fastened upon me.

In the year 2001, the inhabitants of Atlantis
(a city which occurs in the annals of media3val
history under the name of Boston), were thrown
into a state or unusual excitement, which soon
spread all over the inhabited world, when tele-
graphic and telephonic communication distrib-
uted the news.

Workingmen, while excavating a lot for
building purposes, had struck upon a piece of
antique architecture, upon a subterranean room,
so admirably constructed that it had withstood
the ravages of time for more than a century.
The appointments of this room were rather
strange. Air seemed to have been led into it by
way of tubes, and light by way of electrical con-
trivances, which at once indicated the time
when the chamber was built, as being that of
the last decades of the 19th century. The fur-
niture, which was found in the apartment,
strengthened this conclusion ; it coincided with
the fashion plates of that period.

The discovery of this ancient structure would
have received only a short mention in the
"National News Register" had it not become


intensified by a ranch more startling incident.
The room contained also the body of a man ; not
the skeleton of a man, nor his embalmed
corpse, — the body that was found was that of a
man, fast asleep.

All evidences indicated that this person had
gone to sleep more than a centuiy ago. The
usual methods to awake a sleeper, failing, the
most eminent physicians were convened and the
extraordinary case was placed in their hands.
One of them. Dr. Leete, had retired from prac-
tice many years ago. He had been paying of
late, during his leisure, considerable attention
to the medical inventions and discoveries of the
nineteenth century, making a thorough study of
Mesmerism or Hypnotism, as it was then called.
He had read of a method by which such a sleep
could be terminated ; he began to experiment
and his endeavors were crowned with success;
the sleeper opened his eyes.

The patient was now given entirely into his
care. He removed him to his own apartment
and by degrees he brought him to conscious-
ness. He supplied carefully the organism of his
patient with the most needed food and after a
few days of cautious treatment, he dared open
a conversation with his guest, disclosing to him
little by little where he was.


The doctor's diagnosis of the case had been
correct. Julian West, a wealthy resident of
Boston, had been suffering for years from insom-
nia. Sleep fled from him even in his quiet
underground apartment, which he had caused
to be specially constructed for his use as a bed-
chamber. When slumber would not come to
him for many days and nights, he used to send
for his physician who would apply the hypnotic
process to put him to sleep. One of his body
attendants, who had been instructed how to re-
verse the process, would wake him the next

Mr. West could not tell or even imagine,
why he had not been roused as usual the next
morning, nor what had become of the house of
which the discovered apartment was merely the
subcellar. The only possible explanation, that
he could think of, was, that perhaps the house
had caught fire during the night and that his
friends supposed him to have perished in the
flames. Why the place was never utilized
afterwards as a site for new buildings or why
excavations were never made before on the
same place, he was as unable to surmise as were
the people who had found him.

The young man, — he appeared not older
than thirty-five years, — became pitiably dis-


tracted, and for some time he was in danger of
losing liis reason. Tlianks to the good care
that Dr. Leete took of him, his mental equilib-
rium was quickly restored. As soon as he
began to rally, he plied his host with questions
of all kinds.

Since the time that he had gone to sleep, all
social conditions had changed in such a marvel-
lous manner that he failed to understand them.
His age had been one of intense competitive
strife, now he beheld society forming a brother-
hood indeed, in which all worked for one and
one for all. He could not understand how
money should have ceased to be the stimulus
for all individual efforts; he wondered that peo-
ple were found willing to work without being
paid for tlieir labor ; he could not see how it
was possible that all could live in affluence, nor
could he grasp the idea of economic equality.
After a short time, however, he became not
alone reconciled to our social arrangements, but
he began to acknowledge their superiority over
the conditions that prevailed in his time. He
now wondered that his contemporaries could
have been so blind as not to see the true remedy
that would have cured all the evils of which
they complained so much. He remembered
now that at his time already some such ideas of


economic equality had been troubling the minds
of a few individuals and how the socialists, —
so these people had been called, — were scorned
and ridiculed as visionaries, yea, even persecuted
as enemies of society.

After his full recovery, he was given the posi-
tion of professor of mediseval history in one of
our colleges. His specialty was to lecture on
the social conditions of the 19th century.
Speaking from his own experiences, his dis-
courses were very interesting and attracted wide-
spread attention.

The first woman whom his eyes met after
waking up from his protracted slumber, was the
daughter of his host. She was by occupation a
hospital nurse and had been detailed to take
special care of him under her father's directions.
It was, therefore, not astonishing at all that he
should have learned to love her, but that Miss
Leete should have reciprocated the feelings of a
person, who in fact was more than a hundred
years older than she was, and who, — as was
found out later on, — had been affianced to her
own great grandmother, was a surprise to all,
especially as she had not lacked suitors and had
been courted by young men of high promise.
So far, she had refused all offers of marriage,
reserving her hand, — so she said, — for one who


would distinguish himself by some great public
deed. However, the fancies of women have
always been and will forever be unfathomable ;
she returned Julian West's affection, and after
a time they were registered as a married cou-

Their marital bliss was destined to be only of
short duration. Julian had been restored to
life and apparent health ; still outraged nature
took her revenge in due time. His tissues
failed to procreate cells in sufficient numbers
and of sufficient quality. He visibly fell off;
he grew weaker and weaker, and finally he died,
after a short illness, of exhausted vitality, — as
the physicians termed it, — in the second year
of his married life.

At the time of his death, his widow was
expecting to become a mother, and when, two
months later, she gave birth to a weak, sickly-
looking boy, the medical authorities debated
upon the possibility of such a child, ever devel-
oping into manhood.

Some physicians prophesied that, lacking the
proper stamina, the first attack of measles,
would remove " Young West," other doctors
gave him a longer lease of life but predicted
that phthisis would carry him off; but all agreed
that " Young West " would never reach man's


estate ; that, should he live, he would never
become a useful member of society.

Did their predictions come true? No. They
were all disappointed. " Young West " grew
up healthy in body and mind and lived to serve
his country well. He had entered life — to
speak in the language of the 19th century —
well advertised, and it was perhaps due to that
very notoriety that he succeeded where others


When the human soul enters life, the whole
world forces itself, so to say, throws itself upon
it at once, craving recognition. It would crush
the new citizen by its pressure had not a wise
Providence so ordained it that it can reach'him
only through one channel at a time, until he
has accustomed himself to his environments
and has become capable of bearing the world's
full weight.

The tablets of memory, — white and clean at
birth, — become soon covered with the marks
inscribed upon them by passing events and
although nobody can tell how many such im-
pressions the memory received before it learns


to bring them into order and to recall them at
will, it is within the bounds of reason to assume
that the infant receives through the senses, and
stores away for future use, thousands of im-
pressions every day.

The real awakening of the mind, however,
occurs at a much later period, which varies as
individual cases vary. Some will awake to
consciousness as early as the second year, others
not before the end of the fourth. In normal
existences, the day or event can be fixed, when,
for the first time, we remember ourselves either
observing or acting. That day opens, in fact,
the history of a man's life.

I awoke to consciousness not before I was
three years of age, but I remember that moment
distinctly. I found myself in the company of
quite a number of children like myself. We
had been playing upon the green turf in a
garden, and a bell was calling us to lunch. —
I hear the tolling of that bell yet. — I clearly
remember that not only did I understand the
meaning of that bell, but I also knew that,
when hearing it, I was to take a certain place
in a file to be formed by us children. Whether
I had been tiained before to act in that man
ner, — most probably I had, — I cannot remem-
ber. I only know that I took hold of the hand



of another child, we placed ourselves behind
several others and kept step to the music which
was rendered by an orchestrion. I then re-
member that I tripped over some impediment
and fell, dragging my companion with me.
Both of us began to ciy, upon which a pretty
woman of about twenty-five years came to us,
lifted us up, put us again on our feet, straight-
ened our frocks and tiers, kissed us tenderly and
said in a sweet, sympathetic tone : " Don't cry,
dears, don't mind a tumble or a fall ; say ' hey
ho' and let us run for lunch." With tears yet
trickling from our eyes, we exclaimed: "Hey
ho," and led by her we trundled into a spacious
hall, where we took seats upon little stools at a
long, low table. The scene appears before me
as if it had occurred but yesterday. I recollect
how we were regaled with milk, bread, and
sweet fruit. I also remember the names of my
playmates and the names of most of the women
who attended to us. Miss Bella, who had
special charge of me and a few others, and at
whose hand I had entered the dining-hall, tied
a napkin around me and supplied me with the
food I seemed to need. How she knew, I could
not tell at that time, but she knew exactly how
much it was well for each of us to eat. To the
one she would give a larger portion than to the


other, and not rarely would she offer a diet dif-
ferent from that of the rest, to one or the other
of the children.

After lunch, we went again into the garden.
Some of us would play, others would lie down
in hammocks and sleep. I remember that I
liked all the nurses whom I met daily, but that
I was most attracted by Miss Bella.

Every morning an elderly man would appear
amongst us before whom we passed in file. Mr.
Rogers — so we called him — was always re-
ceived by us with pleasure. He would stroke
our hair or kiss us. Sometimes he would play
with us, make us catch him, roll with us on the
ground and teach us games. He was usually
accompanied by another man, whom we did not
like as well, because he woukl make us open
our mouths to put a little ivory stick right into
our throats, a proceeding which we did not
fancy very much. He would also take hold of
the wrist of some child and do many more
things which we children did not comprehend.
We used to call him Uncle Doctor.

One of his actions remained a wonder to me
until I learned its meaning. I will, therefore,
give a true account of it, as it appeared to me
at that time.

Some of the children seemed to be unwilling


to do what the nurses bade them do. They
would strike and scratch other children, take
away their toys or destroy without reason the
flowers in the garden, or they would torment
the rabbits, birds, or other animals which were
kept therein. No matter how often the nurses
would tell them that it was wrong to commit
such deeds, these refractory children would not
listen, but repeated the offence as often as they
found a chance. Others were in the habit of
not telling the truth. It seemed as if a certain
impulse, over which they had no control, would
diive them to do what was forbidden, or that
it would give them a secret pleasure to commit
deeds which would cause pain to others. When-
ever one of us was hurt through the malice
of such a young ruffian, our nurses would tell
us not to retaliate and still to love him, because,
they said, he was sick and would soon recover
aud then not do it again.

There was one dark complexioned little fel-
low, a year older than myself, whom we called
" Bobby," who seemed to derive special pleasure
from annoying me. No sooner had Miss Bella
turned her back to us than he would jump at
mo, scratch or pinch me or pull my haii-. One
day, he even thiew a stone at me ; it struck me
on the head and I beu'an to scream. Other


children had seen him send the missile, but
he still stoutly denied the deed.

" Don't mind it, Julian, dear," said Miss
I'ella, uhi](; dressing the wound, " Bob is a very
sick boy, only sick children will throw stones at

The next morning, when Mr. Rogers, accom-
panied by " Uncle Doctor " entered our ward, T
ol)served Miss Bella earnestly talking to them.
They cast glances at me and also at Bob.
When his turn came to be examined, the doctor
took him kindly in his lap, talked cheerfully
and pleasantly to him, as if notliing had hap-
pened and even made him ride upon his knee.
Bob enjoyed the fun and clapped his hands
in high glee. All at once the doctor made him
recline on his arm, looked fixedly at him and
said : " Poor Bobby is so sleepy, his little eyes
feel so tired, his little legs are so weary ;
Bobby is now closing his eyes, now he is going
to sleep I "

The last word he intuned with a commanding

To my great surprise. Bob had indeed closed
his eyes and was fast asleep.

The Doctor then began to talk to him softly :
" Bobby will not wake until I count three ;
Bobby does not want to pinch and scratch other


children, liobby will never throw stones again,
do you hear me, Bobby?" Though his eyes
were closed, Bobby said : " Yes sir."

The doctor continued : "Bobby will never
again tell a lie, Bobby will go to Young West,
kiss him and beg his pardon. One, two, three."

Bob opened his eyes. The doctor kissed him
and put him on the ground.

I expected that Bob would come to me and do
as he was ordered, but he did not. All that
day, he was quiet and abstained from playing
his usual tricks on me. The following day, the
doctor held a similar conversation with him and
again the next day. On the fourth day, to
my surprise. Bob came to me and begged my
pardon. For a few more days, the doctor
seemed to be extremely friendly towards Bob
without, however, patting him to sleep. After
that, he took no more special notice of him than
he did of the others.

Bob and I became fast friends after that.
Perhaps because my attention had been drawn
through Bob's case, I happened to see the
doctor treat other children precisely in the
same manner. When 1 questioned Miss Bella,
whether Bob was yet sick, she answered : " No,
he is just as well as the rest of you; — the
doctor lias cured him."


The nursery — for such was the phice in
which I came to consciousness — was attached
to a block of residences quite in the heart of the
city. It formed the southern wing of the square
and was built like the houses, entirely of alu-
minum and glass. In the rear, the garden
extended to which I have referred above, to be
used as a playground. It was walled in by
panels of glass and covered by a glass roof
that could be opened and shut at short notice,
so that we could stay in the garden even when
the weather was not pleasant. In front of
the nursery, was a kind of park, much larger
than our garden in whicli the grown-up resi
dents of the block and their friends, would walk.
We could see them and they could see us, but
uidess they entered the nursery by a side en-
trance, communication was impossible. At all
times of the day, persons could be seen in
the park, who, in their turn would watch us
at play or at our meals, through the windows.
They would smile at us, and we would tlirow
kisses to them.

The upper story of the building, to which we
ascended by a broad staircase, was our doimi-
tory. Each of us found there his little bed and
his dressing case. In the cellar, to which light
was carried through glass plates from above


was the lavatory, furnished with wash bowls
and bath-tubs. Its most remarkable feature
was a large tank that could be filled within a
short time with lukewarm water. Dressed in
our bathing suits, all of us — we numbered
about a hundred — would plunge into it every
morning with our nurses and such fun it was !
The smaller ones would receive merely a good
washing but the bigger ones were shown how to
swim. I learned how to swim almost by my-
self and became quite an expert.

The routine of the nursery was about the
same as it is in every nursery to-day. At seven
o'clock in the morning, a bell warned us to rise.

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibrarySolomon SchindlerYoung West; a sequel to Edward Bellamy's celebrated novel, Looking backward → online text (page 1 of 15)